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Keeping your gut healthy when travelling

7 MIN READ • 31st July 2023

Six tips from a leading nutritional therapist on keeping your gut healthy when travelling

Leading nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik, author of Happy Gut, Happy Mind: How To Feel Good from Within and be good to your gut guide, cuts through the cr*p (pun intended!) and tells us about keeping your gut healthy when travelling and how to support your gut while on holidays. 

Going on holiday can unsettle our gut health: not only from air travel but also from new routines, diet and environments that can impact on the microbes that live in our gut – collectively known as the gut microbiome. 

According to Kalinik, maintaining a healthy gut all year round (not just in the summer run-up) is the best strategy for side-stepping common holiday trip-ups.  

“Getting into a regular routine of nurturing your gut consistently is the key message,” said Kalinik. “This really begins by making sure you’re eating a diet abundant in plant foods including those rich in prebiotics as well as including fermented foods. It is also really important to manage stress, optimise sleep and hydrate well as these all contribute to supporting your gut health. With anything gut health-related, it’s about consistency and understanding that it is multi-factorial. 

“However, it’s quite common for people to experience issues with their gut when they’re travelling which can be due to various factors including the side effects of flying, moving across time zones, disrupted sleep patterns, and dietary changes. 

“You might have heard of or had the unpleasant experience of traveller’s diarrhoea, which can affect quite a large proportion of us, and yes, it’s not something you want as a souvenir when you’re travelling.” 

Keeping your gut healthy when travelling 

Unsurprisingly, holidays can cause gastrointestinal (GI) issues to flare up, due to a combination of heat, change in routine, stress around packing and travelling, and, of course, all the different foods and drinks you’re likely to indulge in.  

“On holidays, changes in our gut health can be due to myriad of compounding factors,” Kalinik continued. “Largely, changes in diet and also a lack of fibre which is essential for gut health and to maintain regular bowel movements. It can be easy to fall short of getting enough fibre in the diet especially on holidays. 

“Drinking alcohol can also be part of it. When we are away, we might be drinking more alcohol, and quite often not necessarily compensating with enough water. Coupled with the fact that depending on where you go on holiday it can be hotter which can leave us and our gut really dehydrated which can cause gut disturbances. The gut is a thirsty organ after all!”  

Kalinik says to think of your gut microbiome as an intestinal garden, teeming with trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi and their genetic material that play a crucial role in the gut. Scientists estimate that a typical person’s gut microbiota contains between 300 and 500 different species of bacteria. And it is this complex ecological community, the food you feed it, the new species you invite, and the waste products they create that can all affect your physical and mental health. 

Traveller’s diarrhoea, which can affect 20-50 percent of international travellers, develops during or shortly after travel abroad. It is typically caused by eating food or drinking water contaminated by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. In most cases, it causes a mild illness and symptoms clear within three to four days, but if your getaway’s only short, it can ruin your trip entirely. 

Often referred to as “traveller’s tummy,” it’s common to experience disruptions to digestion and bowel movements while travelling. 

“Traveller’s diarrhoea is a real issue,” she adds. ” But there are things you can do to help prevent these effects, like eating a balanced diet, living a healthy lifestyle, and supporting our gut health with help from Bimuno

So, let’s delve into Eve’s top tips for supporting all-round holiday health from the inside out. 

Plane food 

For many people, flights are the start of the holiday and an excuse to relax and treat yourself. The quick-fix foods that our often sleep-deprived bodies crave on early morning or overnight flights can put a strain on our digestive systems. And the last thing you want to feel when you step off a flight is sluggish or bloated. 

At 30,000ft, the air pressure is much lower than sea level. As the pressure falls, gas starts to expand, which is why your stomach can feel uncomfortable on a flight. Throw in that flying can be stressful, rushed and long, and its little wonder many fall at the first hurdle. 

“Try not to eat a lot of food when you’re up in the air because the air pressure can affect our digestion,” said Kalinik. “Instead, I would suggest that you try and plan your meals around flights. If it’s a long haul, that might be different, so instead try to pack more nutrient-dense snacks like nuts and seeds or dried fruit with no added sugar.” 

Mindful eating 

As much as possible opt for whole foods over processed versions to help your gut microbiome thrive. When on holiday use the opportunity to try the local vegetables and fruits as these can provide different sources of plants and the more the merrier for our gut.   

“Diversifying your fibre sources, which include vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts and seeds, helps to diversify and enrich your gut microbiome,” says Kalinik, who also advises us to consider incorporating prebiotic-rich foods like onions, garlic, bananas, and asparagus, which help to feed the good bacteria in our gut.  

Also, she recommends introducing probiotics through fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi which may also exert a positive effect on the health of the gut.  

“The way in which we eat is also important. Taking time over meals and slowing down, chewing and savouring each bite,” she adds. “Practicing mindful eating allows us to better tune into our body’s signals, aiding digestion and tuning into satiety cues which means we can enjoy them rather than being unpleasantly full. 

“Use your gut instinct on holidays too. If something looks undercooked or doesn’t smell quite right, it’s probably not worth the risk. Moreover, going for cooked food over raw is also a useful tip. This is because during the cooking process many of the bacteria that might cause the tummy upsets are killed off. That would be especially relevant if you’re in an area where you’re not sure the water is entirely clean.” 


Getting enough fibre is crucial while away to maintain a healthy gut. On average, UK residents consume only half their recommended daily fibre intake. 

Too many of us have neglected fibre, our gut microbes’ favourite food! 

Being on holiday always throws a curveball. We don’t just eat for ourselves; we eat for the trillions of microbes in our gut! And fibre is vital for the health and maintenance of our gut microbiome – a collection of bacteria, viruses and fungi that live in our gut. 

Kalinik says to: “Try and ensure that you include fibre in your routine daily even when you are travelling as it helps to support the good bugs in our guts, which can help to sway things in their favour against bugs that might be potentially disruptive. Plus, it helps keep our poop regular too because that can commonly shift when we are on holiday. Essentially, that just means focusing on a diet that is rich in amount and diversity of plant foods, 

“This includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds and in particular prebiotic fibre because that has a more kind of potent feeding effect on the gut microbiome, and that’s in foods like garlic, onions, asparagus, oats.” 

Fibrous foods make you feel fuller for longer and can help with digestion and constipation. Fibre is essential for our gut microbes and promotes regular and healthy bowel movements. 

“It can be tricky to get enough fibre in our diet when we are away so I guess it’s just about being mindful when enjoying some of the more stereotypical holiday-type foods,” says Kalinik. “Bimuno can help because just having a sachet every day is an easy way to ensure that you get 3.65g fibre in there, and also you can just throw them into the suitcase so it’s easy to take with you.” 


Movement can impact our healthy gut bacteria. Incorporating regular physical activity into your routine can foster a diverse and thriving community of beneficial bacteria within your gut. 

Remember, “exercise doesn’t have to be intense or time-consuming,” according to Kalinik, “even moderate activities like walking, Pilates and yoga can enhance gut mobility, reduce the likelihood of constipation and promote a balanced digestive system.” 

There are several reasons why regular walking can lead to a healthier gut microbiome, not least the fact that walking reduces stress and therefore reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.  

“A gentle, stress-reducing walk after a meal can have a positive impact on our digestion,” said Kalinik. 

Any activity that helps reduce our cortisol levels will positively impact our wellbeing, so simply walking a few times throughout your holiday can be an easy way to incorporate this throughout your time away. 

“Walking is quite a good thing, particularly after mealtimes,” she adds. “It doesn’t have to be long, even if it’s a walk around the resort or the beach. Swimming can also be good, too. 

“Problems can occur because we’re not moving as much generally. So, walking can help with digestion and gut mobility, to help alleviate constipation.” 


Don’t underestimate the power of proper hydration. We need water to live, but hydration is vital to gut health. Water fuels the mucosal lining of the intestines, which aids digestion and absorption of nutrients, while also helping to flush out waste.  

Traveller’s tummy symptoms can be caused by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water, especially when travelling to areas where the locals may be used to the bacteria in food and drink, but the tourists are not. 

Kalinik notes: “Keeping well hydrated is also non-negotiable because dehydration alone can be quite a big factor in our gut going out of sync, which can lead to things like constipation, which is common when we’re travelling and especially when it’s hot. 

“Depending on where you’re going, you might need to opt for bottled or filtered water. 

“Alcohol might well be something you want to enjoy on holidays, but too much contributes to dehydration, and we’ll leave your gut feeling a bit weathered. That’s why it’s super important to be mindful of alcohol intake. 

“If you feel like you’re overindulging in things like alcohol or fizzy drinks, then just make sure you counterbalance it with plenty of water.” 


Prebiotic fibre can be found naturally occurring in a wide array of fruits and vegetables and can also be found in concentrated amounts through prebiotic supplements, such as Bimuno Original.  

And that’s why this 44p-a-day daily supplement is taking pride of place on summer holiday packing lists across the globe. 

“It is an excellent supplement,” said Kalinik. “We know that Bimuno works in about seven days*. So, starting it seven days before you go away and taking it for the duration is ideal when living out of a suitcase. Alongside a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, it’s a really simple way to support your gut health.” 

*Scientific data shows that daily use of Bimuno increases gut bifidobacteria levels within seven days, results may vary. 

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